New Dollar Coins
The U.S. Treasury is giving dollar coins yet another try.
Two recent efforts to promote wide usage of a dollar coin proved unsuccessful. But maybe Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea should not take public rejection personally. It’s not easy overcoming people’s indifference to dollar coins, even those honoring such historic figures. An AP-Ipsos poll found that three-fourths of people surveyed oppose replacing the dollar bill, featuring George Washington, with a dollar coin. People are split evenly on the idea of having both a dollar bill and a dollar coin.
A new version of the coin, paying tribute to American presidents, goes into general circulation Thursday. Even though doing away with the bill could save hundreds of millions of dollars each year in printing costs, there is no plan to scrap the bill in favor of the more durable coin.
A quarter-century ago, the dollar coin showed feminist Susan B. Anthony on the front; then one in 2000 featuring Sacagawea, the Shoshone Indian who helped guide the Lewis and Clark expedition.
The latest dollar coin will bear Washington’s image, followed later this year by those of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. A different president will appear on the golden dollar coins every three months.
People have strong feelings about their money, even the penny, which occasionally is threatened with elimination. When people were asked whether the penny should be eliminated, 71 percent said no, according to the poll of 1,000 adults conducted Nov. 28-30 that had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
People don’t like change. I’m sure, however, if they were asked whether we should continue to waste hundreds of millions of dollars a year on small bills, they’d respond differently.
The way to make a dollar coin work is to stop printing the dollar bill and make the coins the size of the old silver dollars, so that they don’t seem so insubstantial. The move away from images of relatively unknown historical figures put on the coin to make a political statement is also helpful.
And I can hardly wait until May 2016 when the Richard Nixon dollar goes into circulation.